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College of Architecture and Planning

Mark Gelernter

Professor EMERITUS and Dean EMERITUS

Mark GelernterContact Information:

Phone: 303.315.1020 
Email: Contact



Degrees Held

  • PhD in Architecture, University of London (1981)
  • BArch, Montana State University (1974)

Research Interests

Architectural history, theory, and design education


Two books: Sources of Architectural Form: A Critical History of Western Design Theory, and A History of American Architecture: Buildings in Their Cultural and Technological Context. Numerous articles on architectural history, theory, and design education, both here and in the United Kingdom. Dr. Gelernter’s papers on design education explore how the design skill is acquired, and how design education might be changed to teach the design skill more effectively.

Professional Accomplishments

Dr. Gelernter was a Lecturer in Architecture in the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, from 1979 to 1987. While there, he drew all of the new illustrations for the 18th edition of Sir Banister Fletcher’s History of Architecture, the standard architectural history book in the English speaking world throughout most of the 20th century.

Dr. Gelernter joined the University of Colorado in 1987, working both in the old College of Environmental Design in Boulder and the old School of Architecture in Denver, before they were joined into one College in 1993. He served as the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Boulder and then as the Associate Dean of the combined College. He won a number of CU teaching and research awards in this period, including a SOAR award. This was the highest student-generated award for excellence in teaching on the Boulder campus, given to four faculty each year.

Dr. Gelernter served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and the Dean of the Graduate School for the Denver campus from 1998 to 2003. During this period, he successfully managed the campus NCA re-accreditation process, created the Center for Faculty Development, and oversaw a fundamental reorganization of the Graduate School and its rules. While serving as the Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs in 2001, he helped develop and implement an incentive-based budgeting model for the campus.

Dr. Gelernter served as Dean of the College of Architecture and Planning from 2003-2017. Among his many accomplishments as dean was the 2012 consolidation of the College of Architecture and Planning at CU Denver, resolving the complexities of CAP's 50-year arrangement between the Boulder and Denver campuses. This enabled the creation of a new Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree in Denver, putting undergraduate and graduate architecture education together in one place for the first time in Colorado history. With Gelernter as dean the college achieved record-high financial success, receiving more than $13 million in grants and contracts and philanthropic donations of over $11 million. CAP created its first ever research centers as well as new academic degrees and certificate programs, established a distinctive and strategic college vision, grew the international programs, and experienced facilities upgrades and the CU Building adaptive re-use, obtaining more space for the college and creating space that feels like an urban design school. At his retirement event, Chancellor Dorothy Horrell cited Dean Gelernter’s university-wide impact: “As associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean of the Graduate School for the Denver campus from 1998 to 2003 and interim vice chancellor for academic and student affairs in 2001, Mark helped create the Center for Faculty Development, and helped the campus create and implement an incentive-based budget model – an idea about 15 years before its time, since, as it turns out, we’re working on just such a model right now.”​

For his work on improving the quality of design education in the state, he has received two awards from Colorado chapters of the American Institute of Architects.

Most Recent Courses

  • Introduction to Architecture

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